Chinese nets getting a makeover

Chinese nets often touted as the landmarks of Kochi since time immemorial are now getting a face lift, which will enhance its utility in the changing times.  These innovative fishing nets are thought to have brought in  by a Chinese explorer, Zheng He in the  mid-fifteenth century. Chinese nets known as cheenavala in local parlance  are fixed along the shores with the nets dropped down into the water at night, which will be manually pulled up at day break to collect the fish trapped inside. A few of these  land-based fishing structures have been motorised where the net will be pulled by motors instead of the traditional method of being pulled by 4 to 6 men.

There are over 25  Chinese nets dotting the shores of Fort Kochiand Vypeen. Two of these have been mechanised so far. The traditional operation of these Chinese nets, which have a 20-metre span is labour intensive and as it is  very hard these days to find labourers to pull it, some of the owners decided to motorise it. Although the maintenance cost is higher, they are hopeful of getting good results in the long run.

However, there are different schools of thought on this issue as some feel that mechanising these ancient structures is not a good idea. While men pull these nets up, they can adjust the pulling power according to the wave’s strength whereas in the motorised version it is not possible. If the  wave and the motor pull the supporting poles of the net in opposite directions, it could snap the nets causing financial loss says the fishermen.Only time will tell whether it is a feasible option or not; but for the time being these innovative Chinese fishing net owners who had hit upon this novel venture is upbeat as they can keep the nets operational without having to worry about the availability of labourers. Also check out the blog Maddy’s Ramblings,which tells you more on the Chinese nets in Kochi.

Sholto Ramsay

Boss, motivator and general eccentric with a deep love of Kerala and India who just wants everyone to enjoy an amazing and life enhancing experience of Kerala.

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1 Response

  1. Rightly said ,these chinese nets were the one of the few things come in to mind when we think of kochi. Only time will tell whether these nets are succesful, and more owners switch to this new motor operated version 🙂

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